Dining Plan Convenience???? Where's the Convenience?

GillianP1301

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
I can't wait to hear how it went for you.

I'm lucky in that I have a good amount of discretionary income. I don't have a "budget" for my food. I just do what I want to do. And while I do have financial comfort, I can't just willy-nilly "waste" money. Maybe that's why I'm in a good financial position, I don't know. But nothing burns me more than "wasting" money. Not spending, but wasting. So when I did get the dining plan, I was very concerned with getting the financial value out of it that I paid into it. I felt that not getting the value out of it was financially irresponsible.

So I spent a lot of time ensuring we ordered the items that would get us to match our value or exceed it. So I did end up getting dessert when I normally wouldn't. I did end up getting a steak when I might have wanted the cheapo chicken or pasta dish. Because if I didn't do that, I would have lost. One thing I will say is that we are not doing character meals. If we had done a couple of those, I believe I could have relaxed on the other meals because they would have more than made up for any deficits.
I think you describe exactly the scenario where the dining plan is probably not the best fit. You would likely spend the same as or even less than the plan by just ordering what you want. I rarely didn't order what entitlements I had on the dining plan because I also felt as though I should order what is included, I just didn't necessarily eat the entire portion and for me, that is not a waste of money. Had I consistently skipped the appetizer, dessert or alcoholic beverage, then I agree, that would be a waste.

I am anxious to see how it goes going 100% out of pocket because I have a feeling I was ordering more/differently on the plan then I'm thinking I did. I think it will be a good experiment that will help me in making the dining plan or not decision for future trips. Mostly I'm just really anxious to leave for my trip!
 

DisneyRobin

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 24, 2014
Exactly! No convenience st all! Just worrying about getting our money's worth and we bring home a bunch of snacks that we don’t need. We eat out all the time - mostly table service meals but it’s never worth it to have the plan.
 

MarkinNM

NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!!
Joined
May 28, 2003
Funny in how some "hate to waste money" but yet stay onsite, as I find WDW resorts WAY overpriced, again I stay for the convenience, xfers from the airport that includes the baggage, plus xfers to and from the parks/resorts, convenience BUT I could stay offsite and pay substantially less but I choose the convenience! I can guarantee that non DDP travelers will spend more time looking at the menu and prices and contemplating costs, while DDP paid travelers like myself will just order what I want and could care less on the menu costs, again for me convenience, is that so hard to understand? Why do the nonDDP travelers continually hound those who bought the DDP, just drop it and move on as it is also convenient, darn that word!
 
  • Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    Funny in how some "hate to waste money" but yet stay onsite, as I find WDW resorts WAY overpriced, again I stay for the convenience, xfers from the airport that includes the baggage, plus xfers to and from the parks/resorts, convenience BUT I could stay offsite and pay substantially less but I choose the convenience! I can guarantee that non DDP travelers will spend more time looking at the menu and prices and contemplating costs, while DDP paid travelers like myself will just order what I want and could care less on the menu costs, again for me convenience, is that so hard to understand? Why do the nonDDP travelers continually hound those who bought the DDP, just drop it and move on as it is also convenient, darn that word!
    I don't think people are "hounding" anyone. It's a discussion and a fun one at that! And I think this thread is an invaluable tool for someone who is trying to decide if they should get it or not. There are so many pros and cons expressed that I think it's great.

    I've done both the plan and not done the plan. I'm contemplating doing the plan this year but am waiting to get all my ADRs in place first to see if it makes sense. I don't find one any way more "convenient" than the other. I order and I pay--always with my band. I found the plan to be more work for me, mentally, just because of my personality. As I said above, I needed to make sure I was at least breaking even so I had to think about it at every meal and snack. I realize others don't do that...because they don't care if they get out the monetary value what they paid in. Prepaying, whether they win or lose, is the value for them.
     

    Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    BINGO............................

    convenient.................
    Ha! Personally, like the OP of this thread, I don't get the "convenient" part. I could prepay my credit card if I wanted. I could prepay and load gift cards. There's nothing the dining plan offers that is uniquely convenient to other methods.
     

    Farro

    Another day, another confused selfie.
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    Ha! Personally, like the OP of this thread, I don't get the "convenient" part. I could prepay my credit card if I wanted. I could prepay and load gift cards. There's nothing the dining plan offers that is uniquely convenient to other methods.
    That's the whole point. You don't have to "get it". If someone finds it convenient to them to pre-pay, it's convenient to them. It doesn't have to be convenient to you. The constant questioning of "but why?" or "it doesn't make sense" is why people keep responding.

    You may say you are just stating your opinion, which is totally fine. But the way your post (and others) is stated, it feels like a direct question/debate attempt to those who find it convenient, asking them, once again, to defend their own personal feelings about the dining plan.
     
  • Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    That's the whole point. You don't have to "get it". If someone finds it convenient to them to pre-pay, it's convenient to them. It doesn't have to be convenient to you. The constant questioning of "but why?" or "it doesn't make sense" is why people keep responding.

    You may say you are just stating your opinion, which is totally fine. But the way your post (and others) is stated, it feels like a direct question/debate attempt to those who find it convenient, asking them, once again, to defend their own personal feelings about the dining plan.
    It's a discussion, a point of view. I'm not asking anyone to prove anything. Just explaining that yes, I don't get the convenient part. I do get why others feel that way and that's fine. I wasn't asking anyone to defend. Just giving my take on convenience. I happen to disagree with the way other people view and others disagree with my need to get my math right--they don't care about that. I think it's fine to talk about it and not try to take it personally.
     

    Farro

    Another day, another confused selfie.
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    It's a discussion, a point of view. I'm not asking anyone to prove anything. Just explaining that yes, I don't get the convenient part. I do get why others feel that way and that's fine. I wasn't asking anyone to defend. Just giving my take on convenience. I happen to disagree with the way other people view and others disagree with my need to get my math right--they don't care about that. I think it's fine to talk about it and not try to take it personally.
    Oh I'm not taking it personally, I'm just saying - when someone posts they like something, and then someone else comes and says they don't "get" why that person likes it, obviously that person is going to want to come and try to explain their stance.

    Honestly, I think these discussions are pointless unless people are using actual numbers to help each other decide. Otherwise people's reasons for wanting the dining plan are too subjective and those wanting to understand "why" will never be satisfied.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    Ha! Personally, like the OP of this thread, I don't get the "convenient" part. I could prepay my credit card if I wanted. I could prepay and load gift cards. There's nothing the dining plan offers that is uniquely convenient to other methods.
    Meh, convenience. Value. Worth it? Who can really know what these words mean to any other family?
    My dh thinks staying anywhere but a monorail resort is a waste of a WDW trip. He thinks the convenience is a value that is “worth it”

    I think that no one needs to Get it” because these decisions are personal. Value is a personal decision and what is a convenience to me is a pita to someone else.

    Oh I'm not taking it personally, I'm just saying - when someone posts they like something, and then someone else comes and says they don't "get" why that person likes it, obviously that person is going to want to come and try to explain their stance.

    Honestly, I think these discussions are pointless unless people are using actual numbers to help each other decide. Otherwise people's reasons for wanting the dining plan are too subjective and those wanting to understand "why" will never be satisfied.
    This is why I often ask for more info and still tell people to do their math. Spending is a sensitive subject and there is no right or wrong way to vacation
     
  • Tbiafore

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2009
    We love the DDP and purchase it every time we go. For us, we are a large party with many families (my grown kids that have families of their own) and its my wife and my gift to the whole family when we go (we pay for it). I dont want anyone in our large party to worry about ordering that "steak" because its expensive and someone else is flipping the bill, so it forces them to pick something less expensive out of kindness. We want the family to pick what they want and enjoy and not feel pressured to pick something else on the menu becuase a certain food item they like is wildly expensive and feel greedy, or not worth it "cash wise".
     

    gillep

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2009
    We love the DDP and purchase it every time we go. For us, we are a large party with many families (my grown kids that have families of their own) and its my wife and my gift to the whole family when we go (we pay for it). I dont want anyone in our large party to worry about ordering that "steak" because its expensive and someone else is flipping the bill, so it forces them to pick something less expensive out of kindness. We want the family to pick what they want and enjoy and not feel pressured to pick something else on the menu becuase a certain food item they like is wildly expensive and feel greedy, or not worth it "cash wise".
    I actually feel the opposite way about the plan. I want to order the wine flight, but because it wouldn't be covered under the plan I would have to settle for the covered glass of wine or pay OOP for the flight. It just depends on what you enjoy, if you don't like wine flights, and there is a glass covered by the plan that you love, then you would never have the same experience with the plan feeling restrictive as I would. Different people just have different ways they like to dine and the plan works for some and not others.
     

    Beachmom0317

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2016
    Ha! Personally, like the OP of this thread, I don't get the "convenient" part. I could prepay my credit card if I wanted. I could prepay and load gift cards. There's nothing the dining plan offers that is uniquely convenient to other methods.
    I don’t have a credit card and I don’t want to have to carry gift cards on me in case I lose them. I am so confused by the room authorization holds I don’t want to swipe my magic band more than I have to, because if the $100 holds don’t go away immediately it’ll affect my checking account. It is convienent for my husband and I to buy dining plan ahead of time (after doing math and breaking even/coming ahead) and at least eliminate the gift card/magic band/checking account factor of our trip regarding food (our main and biggest expense while there). I’d encourage everyone to just do what works for them lol We are also DVC and can add dining plan without package requirements which further helps us regarding value of dining plan.
     

    igrsod

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 11, 2010
    Dining plan only makes sense for certain types of eaters as well as certain types of situations. We have a large family vacation coming up and love to eat at least one TS meal per day. We have two rooms booked and are getting the deluxe dining plan for one of the room and are sharing the credits across the family. I did the math using the dining calculator of what our typical dining habits would cost vs. QS dining plan, vs. DP, vs DxDP and the cheapest for us was the DxDP for one room. BUT, if everyone in our family got the dining plan, then paying out of pocket would be more economical. Over the years, we have done both, dining plan and out of pocket depending on the situation. Funny enough, my kids like when we have the dining plan... reason... they don't feel bad getting snacks or desserts as they are included in the plan, when paying out of pocket, they feel guilty asking for such treats.
    My advice is to always calculate it out and do what is best for your crew.
     

    igrsod

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 11, 2010
    We love the DDP and purchase it every time we go. For us, we are a large party with many families (my grown kids that have families of their own) and its my wife and my gift to the whole family when we go (we pay for it). I dont want anyone in our large party to worry about ordering that "steak" because its expensive and someone else is flipping the bill, so it forces them to pick something less expensive out of kindness. We want the family to pick what they want and enjoy and not feel pressured to pick something else on the menu becuase a certain food item they like is wildly expensive and feel greedy, or not worth it "cash wise".
    That is a very real feeling. My kids like when we get the dining plan for this reason. When my son was little... he was always so excited he could order steak at every sit down meal if he wanted. It gave him such joy... that's what disney memories are made of. We now laugh about it because as a young adult, that son is now vegan... lol. Maybe he overloaded on steak.
     

    sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    We are also DVC and can add dining plan without package requirements which further helps us regarding value of dining plan.
    Curious as to what happens to a DVC reservation if you end up cancelling. Anyone can add the dining plan without tickets, but it does become a package which means the deposit is different, paid in full comes into play, and cancellation is different from just a room only.
     

    MickeyWaffles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2010
    Curious as to what happens to a DVC reservation if you end up cancelling. Anyone can add the dining plan without tickets, but it does become a package which means the deposit is different, paid in full comes into play, and cancellation is different from just a room only.
    You can add a a DVC Disney Dining Plan up to 48 hours in advance of check in. You pay the dining plan cost in full and it doesn’t change anything about your reservation.

    And, you can contact Member Services up to 24 hours before check in to remove the Dining Plan.

    DVC members may as well wait to add it until a few days before the trip so the chances of cancelling are pretty low and you don’t have to pay the full dining plan cost and then be refunded.

    If you cancel the whole trip, the same thing happens to DVC points as what would happen if you didn’t have the dining plan. If you cancel more than 30 days in advance, no penalty - points returned. If its within 30 days your points go into holding (restrictions like they must be used within that use year, can’t be banked, etc.) It’s the same whether you had a dining plan or not.

    Basically, the dining plan doesn’t affect a DVC reservation at all.
     
    Last edited:

    persimmondeb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2009
    Okay, I may be coming in late here, but...

    At this point I would be EXTREMELY reluctant to go with my immediate family without the dining plan (I am accompanying my sister's family in November and it didn't make sense for us, we'll see how it goes). The last time we tried it things got ugly.

    In a nutshell, the dining plan is not how we would order without it, it is how we would like to order and don't. We never have any trouble eating "all that food". It's probably not technically a "savings", but it definitely allows us to get more for our money. The calculations aren't particularly onerous--if you tend to like the top of the menu and the structure of the entitlements works for you--the dining plan is a good fit. If you're a light eater, really tend to graze, a vegetarian, or have "Disney Adults" who still eat like the children they are, it probably isn't. The exception to that is large, complicated family groups where the avoidance of drama is a major plus regardless of habits.

    For my family, we will end up out of pocket on some things. We'll get an app for the table at many TS meals, and will sometimes split two entitlements, since DS and I tend to like the same entrees and DH rarely eats dessert. We haven't been since alcoholic beverages were included, but we will often pay for a bottle of wine out of pocket and use the beverage entitlement for coffee/espresso with dessert. For us, it functions as a pre-paid discounted supplement to how we want to eat. The structure is attractive enough for us that I would probably still get it even if it looked less discounted. We've done QS a couple of times, and while there's less savings, it still worked well for us, and made for a much more pleasant trip.

    We should probably be doing Deluxe at this point, honestly, but our tip bill is high as it is, for obvious reasons, and I've been reluctant to commit to that many reservations.
     

    Dizzymrslizzy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 19, 2009
    DDP gives my kids more magic.

    On No Dining plan I scrimp and budget every meal and snack. There’s no getting a snack on a whim. There’s no anger when a kid gets a snack eats half and then throws it out.

    On DDP my kids have freedom to get whatever they want within reason. My son can order whatever meal he chooses without me nitpicking and asking if he can choose something cheaper!
     

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